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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Science
Science In Your Garden
Category: Science
Tags: science for kids garden earth science life science

If you’re looking for some hands-on activities to study earth and life science, head out to a garden. It’s a living lab that affords all kinds of opportunities to observe science concepts in the natural world, such as:

 

  • interdependence in an environment

  • life cycles and changes

  • adaptations and biodiversity

  • human impact on the environment.

While in the field, kids get a chance to be the scientists by asking questions, making observations, and coming up with explanations for what they see based on evidence. They can define problems they may encounter in a garden (eg. a plant-damaging pest), and gather additional information to brainstorm solutions.

For an idea of the kinds of investigations that can be done in a garden, visit Nature Works Everywhere, which provides a variety of video lessons and activity guides for topics such as:

The site also has several How-To Garden Videos.

 

Here are some free garden exploration units for grades 1 - 4. Each unit - Pondering Plants, Soil Stories, Garden Pollinators, and Garden Habitats - includes six lessons.

Additional free resources:

 

Here are some more ideas from KidsGardening.

 

Free Reader:

 

 

For Middle and High School Grades

 

From the Ground Up, The Science of Soil has free lesson plans and labs on a variety of soil topics including composition and nutrients; there are also free family activities for testing your soil, careers in soil science, and a garden guide.

 

Learn about diversity by tallying how many different species live in your neighborhood. 

 

 

Ecology and Environmental Science
Category: Science
Tags: ecology environmental science earth day

 

Free textbooks, virtual labs, interactives, and activities for building an ecology unit: 

Textbooks: If you want to use a textbook to structure your unit, check out Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planeta 658-page download.

There's also CK-12's Intro to Ecology, with 35 sections covering ecosystems and related topics. Sections include reading, related videos and links, and online practice questions. You can easily create your own "Flexbook" with only the sections you want to cover. The Ecology chapter is part of CK-12's Life Science textbook. 

HippoCampus Environmental Science VideosInformation on Earth's atmosphere, water, geology, and ecosystems.

Exploring Planet Earth: Free online course presented in 10 modules covering Earth's systems and resources.

Click the image below for an interactive worksheet on Earth Day:

Free Online Earth Day Games

Free PDF Books:

Here are some links to free resources for explaining and learning about various ecology topics through interactives, labs, assignments and activities. 

Levels of Organization: This Glencoe Virtual Lab is an investigation of how competition for natural resources affects population growth. Grow two species of Paramecium, compare growth curves, answer journal questions.

Food Chains/Webs

  • Energy Flow in Ecosystems: Shows how energy flows through a food chain between producers, consumers and decomposers. Includes a short quiz.

Predators and Prey

  • Predator-Prey Simulation: Examine predator and prey interactions, in this case, wolves and deer. Set three parameters for the predator: aggression, birth rate, and dependency upon prey as a food source. Then run a simulation to see how the populations change over time.

Symbiosis and Other Interactions:

This video on symbiosis is part of a TED-Ed lesson that includes questions and additional information. 

Nature Cycles:

  • Water Cycle: Interactive diagram with a multiple choice quiz.
  • Carbon Cycle: Travel the cycle with this interactive game. Click the "For Teachers" link for a related lesson plan and additional resources.
  • Carbon Cycle Investigation: A longer simulation activity in which sources of carbon, and human effects on the cycle are identified.
  • Nitrogen Cycle: Visualize the flow of nitrogen in the environment.

Photosynthesis and Respiration

  • Virtual Lab: A simulation investigating the effects of environmental conditions on photosynthesis.
  • Interactive Google Doc: 

Earth's Biomes:

  • Six Virtual Biomes: Description of plant and animal life in the major biomes and ecosystems.

Habitats and Ecosystems: 

  • DK Find Out: Interactive illustrations on plants and animals in different habitats. 

Biodiversity: 

  • Backyard Biodiversity: Kids search for animal life in microhabitats close to home. Involves observation, classification, and species mapping. Includes links to several citizen science projects.
  • Endangered Species Assignment: Using earthsendangered.com, create a graphic organizer comparing 4 endangered species from an area of the world.

Environmental Problems and Solutions

 


Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Plants, Flowers and Trees
Category: Science
Tags: parts of plants parts of flowers identifying trees

Free resources to supplement your study of plants, flowers, and trees, including interactives, free readers, and virtual forests and trips. 

Start with The Science of Soil which offers free lesson plans and interactives on the properties of soil. There are also hands-on activities, like measuring basic soil chemistry in your backyard, and videos on how different produce is grown.

To study plant processes, check out this interactive doc on photosynthesis and cellular respiration: 

The Great Plant EscapePresents information in six "case files" so that kids can solve the mysteries of plant life. Covers: parts of plants, life cycle of plants, soil, seeds, and plant reproduction. Each case file has several hands-on activities or experiments that can be done.

                                

 Photosynthesis: An interactive that     explains the process.

 Photonsynthesis Videos: From NeoK12; also has links to quiz games and puzzles   

Life of a Tree: Interactive 

Flower Parts: An interactive describing the parts of a flower and how flowers reproduce. Here's another one that mentions pollination.                       

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant Reproduction: from Glencoe Life Science; 32 pages

MicroorganismsText and interactives that teach about fungi and algae

Free BrainPop MoviesThese cover: how flowering plants produce seeds; photosynthesis and respiration; gymnosperms and angiosperms

 

 

Dr. Arbor Talks Trees: Animated lessons about tree anatomy and identification. Includes teachers guide.

Take a walk in the forest and ID trees using this dichotomous key.

 

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